When a Pet Dies
My Grandparents Wedding
My Grandparents Always Had Pets
There are obvious connections between humans and animals. Many people describe pets as family members. We often spend many years with our pets, and the bond that develops can be very strong. Do these bonds extend beyond life here on earth? I remember two strange events that occurred around the time of the death of my grandparents.
The first event happened when my grandmother, Nannie, died. Nannie lived in a house with a large yard that was close to our house. Nannie loved animals. I think she may have been closer to her animals than to any person around her. She had dogs, chickens, birds, fish, turtles, ponies, and rabbits. She would cook for them every day. In her later years, her animals were her reason to keep going. They needed her and she needed them.
Nannie Had Several Rabbits
Nannie Taught Us How to Take Care of Animals
Toward the end of Nannie’s life, her health deteriorated. She slipped in the yard and broke her hip. After Nannie came home from the hospital, she was never able to go outside and care for her beloved animals. For several months, my younger brother, Randy, and I would go to Nannie’s house every morning and feed her animals. Nannie made sure we knew how much to feed them and how to take good care of them. She was very strict and very particular about how we fed and cared for her companions. She taught us well.
Nannie had one chicken that had no toes (do chickens even have toes?) This chicken's feet froze during one of our severe Indiana winters, and it just had legs that ended in stumps that looked like a fist. Nannie took care of that chicken, and it helped it heal. That chicken got around just fine on its stubbed feet. That's how much Nannie loved her pets and animals.
Nannie had seven rabbits at the time of her death. Those rabbits were her pets. She named all of them. I don't remember their names, but I do remember that Nannie named all of her pets.
Nannie Died and Then all of her Rabbits Died
The day after Nannie died, Randy and I went over before school to feed her animals as usual. That morning, we found one of the rabbits dead. It was lying on its side, and there we no signs of why it died. We could not find any wounds or injuries on it at all. We buried the rabbit and fed the other rabbits and the rest of the animals.
Every morning we found the same thing. Another one of the rabbits was dead. They were all found just lying on their side with no signs of any injuries. By the week after Nannie died, all of her rabbits had died. I couldn’t help but think that the rabbits somehow knew Nannie was no longer here on earth, even though she had not been able to go out and see them for several months prior to her death.
Grandpa Loved a Dog Named Brownie
Grandpa Knew Brownie had Died
The second strange event occurred when my grandfather was in the hospital near death. Grandpa lived with us after Nannie died. We had a wonderful dog named Brownie. Grandpa was very close to Brownie. They were buddies.
Not long after grandpa went into the hospital for the last time in his life, Brownie was hit by a car and died. Mom was going to visit grandpa in the hospital, and she decided that she was not going to tell grandpa that Brownie had died. She didn’t want to upset him in his fragile condition. When Mom went into the hospital room, grandpa said to her, “Brownie died.” Mom was shocked. There was no way he could have known that.
Grandpa with his Pony
The Covenant Between God and all Living Creatures
Some people think that this life is all we get and that there is no afterlife. I believe that when we leave this earth, there is more to come. I believe that we reconnect with family and loved ones when we have completed this earthly existence. Is it possible that we also reconnect with pets and animals that have been a major part of our lives?
(NIV) Genesis 9:16-17:
16 "Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”
17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”
Is there a soul-to-soul connection that extends beyond the grave? A connection between humans and their beloved pets? Some will likely consider that this sort of thinking is something foolish people use to find comfort by deluding themselves. Since it causes no harm to others, and it gives me peace of mind, I will take comfort in knowing that I will see my loved ones again, both humans and animals, when this life is over.
© 2018 Ron Grimes